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Latest Life Sciences News

Junk food causes similar high blood sugar levels as type 2 diabetes

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A junk food diet can cause as much damage to the kidney as diabetes, according to a new study published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

Genes for nose shape found

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Noses

Genes that drive the shape of human noses have been identified by a UCL-led study.

The four genes mainly affect the width and ‘pointiness’ of noses which vary greatly between different populations. The new information adds to our understanding of how the human face evolved and may help contribute to forensic DNA technologies that build visual profiles based on an individual’s genetic makeup. 

SLMS researchers elected as Fellows of Royal Society

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Professors Maria Fitzgerald (Professor of Developmental Neurobiology, UCL Division of Biosciences) and Eleanor Maguire (Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology) will become elected fellows of the Royal Society.

Brain caught ‘filing’ memories during rest

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woman sleeping

Memories formed in one part of the brain are replayed and transferred to a different area of the brain during rest, according to a new UCL study in rats.

Biggest library of bat sounds compiled

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bat

The biggest library of bat sounds has been compiled to identify bats from their calls in Mexico – a country which harbours many of the Earth's species and has one of the highest rates of extinction and habitat loss.

Fruit flies live longer on lithium

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Lithium fruit flies

Fruit flies live 16% longer than average when given low doses of the mood stabiliser lithium, according to a UCL-led study.

UCL researchers take their research to parliament

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Thomas Rogers

Thomas Rogers (UCL Security & Crime Science) has been awarded the Silver medal in engineering for his research poster presented at this year’s SET for Britain competition.

First gene for grey hair found

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Grey hair

The first gene identified for greying hair has been discovered by an international UCL-led study, confirming greying has a genetic component and is not just environmental.

Blocking stress protein relieves chronic pain in mice

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FKBP51 proteins (light blue) shown in mouse spinal cord tissue

A group of drugs being developed to treat mood disorders could also relieve chronic pain, finds new UCL research funded by the Medical Research Council.

Rare bleeding disorder diagnosis improved with super-resolution microscopy

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Platelets

Researchers from UCL, the National Physical Laboratory and the Royal Free Hospital have differentiated between patients with a rare bleeding disorder and healthy volunteers using super-resolution microscopy, providing an alternative method for accurately and cost-effectively diagnosing rare platelet diseases.

Estrogens alleviate hyperactivity in zebrafish with autism gene

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Zebrafish brain

Research led by UCL, Yale and University of California, San Francisco has shown that the hormone estrogen alleviates the sleep disruption experienced by zebrafish genetically designed to help understand the biology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Bacterium’s coiled anchor causes urinary tract infections

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E. coli

UCL and Birkbeck-led research reveals the flexible, coiled structure used by bacteria to anchor onto the lining of the urinary tract, which allows them to thrive and cause infections. Understanding this structure in atomic detail will help the development of new drugs to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), say the scientists behind the study.

UCL staff recognised in New Year Honours 2016

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Portico Statue

Congratulations to the members of the UCL community who have been recognised in the 2016 New Year Honours list.

Map shows hotspots for bat-human virus transmission risk

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Ebola

West Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia are most at risk from bat viruses ‘spilling over’ into humans resulting in new emerging diseases, according to a new global map compiled by scientists at UCL, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the University of Edinburgh.

Mammal diversity exploded immediately after dinosaur extinction

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Leptictis

The diversity of mammals on Earth exploded straight after the dinosaur extinction event, according to UCL researchers. New analysis of the fossil record shows that placental mammals, the group that today includes nearly 5000 species including humans, became more varied in anatomy during the Paleocene epoch – the 10 million years immediately following the event.

Apply to the UCL-Birkbeck MRC Doctoral Training Programme

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UCL-Birkbeck MRC Doctoral Training Programme image

The UCL-Birkbeck MRC Doctoral Training Programme provides state-of-the-art PhD training across four strategic themes.

Research Images as Art/Art images as Research: 2015/16 winners announced

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Red poppies in the mouse brain

A diverse and fascinating series of images were unveiled as the winners of the Research Images as Art / Art Images as Research competition for 2015/16, run by the UCL Doctoral School.

Professor John O’Keefe

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Professor John O’Keefe, inaugural Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at UCL, having launched the centre, will be stepping down from the role in September 2016 so he can once again devote his full attention to a significant program of ongoing and new scientific research. We are extremely grateful to him for having taken on the demanding role of launching the Centre and are delighted that he will continue his research within it.

Vice Provost (Health) View November 2015

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david-lomas.jpg

Having been Vice-Provost (Health) for three months, I should like to start by thanking my predecessor Professor Sir John Tooke: health at UCL has gone from strength to strength over the past five and a half years.

PhotoSynthesis Competition results

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After months of waiting the results are finally in for our Photosynthesis competition 2015. The judging panel (consisting of senior academics, managers and communications staff from across the School) were extremely impressed by all the entries but the winners are:

Genes involved in schizophrenia and obesity highlighted

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DNA

Genes involved in schizophrenia and obesity have been highlighted in a new UCL study, which could lead to a better understanding of the DNA variants which affect risk of these conditions and aid the development of improved strategies for prevention and treatment.

Extra brain cells make males remember sex

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His and hers

A pair of neurons have been found in the brain of male nematode worms that allow them to remember and seek sex even at the expense of food. 

How the Inuit adapted to Ice Age living and a high-fat diet

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The_Inuit

Greenland natives – the Inuit – have mutations in genes that control how the body uses fat which provides the clearest evidence to date that human populations are adapted to particular diets according to new UCL research. The genetic differences allow the Inuit to physically adapt to survive Arctic conditions and live healthily on a traditional diet which is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from marine mammal fat.

Major new research study on the impact of system-wide reorganisation of cancer services

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A research team led by Professor Naomi Fulop (UCL Department of Applied Health Research) has been awarded £1.2 million over three and a half years by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme to study the centralisation of specialist cancer surgical services.

Old world monkey had tiny, complex brain

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Monkey brain

The brain of a 15 million year old monkey has been visualized for the first time by a team led by Professor Fred Spoor (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology). The 3D computer model shows that the brain is much smaller and has more folds than expected, supporting the idea that brain complexity can evolve before brain size in the primate family tree.

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